Commonly known as an ePOS till in the UK, an ePOS system allows businesses to keep track of transactions that happen at the point of sale. In addition to this basic function, an ePOS till consists of a cash drawer, a scanner, printer and a card reader.
Modern ePOS systems are touch-enabled devices that can help manage inventory and other parameters such as loyalty programs, email marketing, staff, and customers.
Businesses looking forward to keep up with the advancements in the mobile technology can consider mPOS systems. Cloud-based solutions are fairly common too and don’t become obsolete over time. Moreover, the hardware is often not bulky like that of the traditional systems.
Generally, ePOS till prices vary according to the type:
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Traditionally, ePOS systems are categorised into either fixed or wireless/mobile types and find their application in a number of industries including hospitality, retail, distribution among others.
It is fairly common to breakdown the ePOS tills into the following categories:
EPOS system prices vary based on the type of system and can easily go into thousands of pounds. Further, in some cases, it is better to rent than buy. For example, in the case of software, renting makes sense as it gives access to continued software support. Also, nowadays it is more common to find that software-only vendors rent out the software instead of a one-time sale.
Here you can find the most common types of ePOS tills, which can be rented:
The most commonly used system, especially, when it comes to customer payments. Countertop systems are accurate, which reduces the chance of errors. Moreover, it is the main hub of a Point of Sale for a business. Nowadays many of these systems have touchscreen functionalities. Restaurants and bars use touchscreen ePOS tills as both young and old employees can easily operate them. These systems do not need a keyboard or mouse, thereby saving space too.
A touch screen ePOS till can handle splashes from drinks. It can also apply deals, discounts or offers for its customers.
Complete systems tend to be costlier but are way more robust – they break down less often and thus require far less maintenance. These systems are fixed by nature, and are suitable for retail.
Hand-held ePOS systems are great solutions for catering and hospitality industries where customers prefer to pay at their tables. Therefore, employees need to be more flexible, and mobile card machines offer exactly that. By pressing one button, workers can send customer orders or recommendations directly to the central hub, hence minimising order time.
These tills are more efficient because the kitchen can get orders quicker, staff have a smooth shift and save money by organising a smart schedule.
Handheld ePOS systems are suitable for businesses that need a flexible payment solution. This solution also allow many devices to facilitate seamless payment transactions. Typically, the price depends on the hardware and software bundle available from the supplier.
Software-only solution can be used on a range of devices. Some businesses prefer to work with traditional devices such as laptops (PC/Mac) because the operating system is much more capable than their tablet counterparts. In these cases, a software-only solution can be recommended. However, there are numerous software-only solutions on the market and it can be difficult to pick one.
These days the POS software is mostly cloud-based and is a perfect solution for shops and stores that use both static and fixed points of sale. Cloud-based ePOS tills allow you to access staff information, figures, data analysis and annual reports from anywhere in the world. It is less stressful for the employees as the supplier can make all the necessary updates and backups.
In addition to other mentioned benefits, you are able to easily change the product range, name, delivery dates or prices.
The service and price of ePOS systems offered varies depending on the ePOS supplier and the products needed. Some companies offer services such as customer support, on site installation, free software updates, security updates.
It is possible to find an ePOS rental for as little as £10 per week. However, the price depends on the type of ePOS solutions and what ePOS hardware and software are needed by the company. Different bundles will result in different combinations of software, terminals, printers and other peripherals. It is also possible to rent the complete ePOS system.
|Type of System||Components||Purchase Price Range (£)||Rent Price Range (£)|
|Countertop and All-in-One System||Includes touchscreen monitor, software, keyboard, scanner, and other peripherals etc.||£649 to £2499||£10 to £30 per week|
|Handheld ePOS System||Includes mobile tablet/handheld payment terminal, software etc.||£299 to £1199||Depends on hardware and software bundle|
|Software-Only ePOS System||Includes software that can be installed on different types of hardware.||£199 to £499||£30 to £200 per week|
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Buying an ePOS system means high upfront costs. Another disadvantage to buying an ePOS system is inflexibility. If the purchased ePOS system is not suitable for the business, it is very costly to replace it.
Purchasing an ePOS system requires research and thorough consideration of what your business needs are. Cheap ePOS systems might look attractive but can result in more long-term costs, as the cheap ePOS systems would need higher maintenance and have a shorter life span.
Further, upgrades can be expensive. Not only in terms of ePOS hardware, but also in terms of software. It can be challenging to roll out simple things such as security patches. Therefore, businesses trying to update ePOS systems on their own will need to spend a lot more time and money.
It is possible for business to rent ePOS tills and outsource the risks associated with buying and maintenance. ePOS Rental periods are generally either short-term or long-term.
It is suitable for businesses that need to manage payments for very short or uncertain period of time. Pop-up stores, start-ups or any other business without a fixed location can leverage this solution. Whether it is an occasional spike in the business or a one-time event, this solution is sure to come in handy.
The downside of short-term hire is that you will have to renew the contract each time you need an ePOS system. Besides, you will have to return it once the ePOS rental period is over, which can occur during the business process.
Long-term ePOS hire is the best option for most of the businesses because they can upgrade the package by requesting a new software/hardware. The main benefit is building your own data depicting employee performance, stock management and customer buying behaviour.
Long-term hiring is generally referred to as leasing and allows your business to have full-service and long-term relationship with your potential supplier. A typical lease period lasts for 18 months and afterwards, as per the terms of the contract, the supplier may let you keep the ePOS system. This option keeps a balance in your monthly expenditures.
An alternative solution to buying an ePOS system is renting or leasing. Lower upfront costs are the biggest advantage of renting. In addition to the following, suppliers may offer additional services to customers that choose to rent their systems:
It is possible to upgrade the ePOS system and to benefit from the latest updates and technology. The rate of contactless payments in the UK is on the rise, and keeping up-to-date with consumer developments like this will be a crucial way to stay competitive in the coming years. Renting an ePOS system will allow you to routinely update your hardware to maintain up to date, with, for example contactless payment systems.
If business needs are changing, having a rented ePOS system will give businesses the flexibility of changing their ePOS system and avoid unnecessary costs. This can help businesses quickly meet market changes and meet new customer needs.
Renting an ePOS system will allow businesses to quickly and easily scale their operations. Most suppliers will be able to offer flexible contracts that allow customers to add new accessories, features and training.
It allows you to discover which features work well with your business and which do not. Some businesses, for example, may benefit from having physical keyboards connected to their system, while others may have a better experience with touch screens ePOS systems. It is easier and cheaper with rentals to find the best cash register, the best hardware and the best ePOS system for your business. It is possible to exchange the rented ePOS system for a different type, if it does not suit the business needs.
It is possible to tailor the monthly payments to the business needs and capabilities. It gives the opportunity to use cash more effectively. Rentals are tax deductible, which adds to their financial benefit.
Some suppliers of POS systems provide the possibility for customers to lease a system for a set period of time with the prospect of purchasing the system at the end of the lease, at a reduced price.
This can be a suitable solution for businesses that are looking to make a long-term investment in an ePOS system but either cannot afford it or would like to familiarise themselves with a particular system first.
It is possible to rent ePOS systems (or only cash registers) specialised for restaurants, pubs, retailers, spas, hotels and many more.
Payment preferences have shifted to a more digitised, smartphone-oriented scene. There’s been a huge global shift towards mPOS systems, and retail store as well as restaurants will continue to have more widespread mPOS solutions for their customers. This is linked to the fact that mPOS systems enable cashless payments. With the increase in the number of NFC enabled devices it can be expected that contactless payments will only grow.
Finally, it is worth noting that more and more small- to medium-scale businesses are opting to choose cloud-based mPOS solutions along with a cheap card payment machine for small business, as this significantly brings down the cost. For example, renting a software only solution at 30 pounds per month will mean that the annual expenditure will be 360 pounds. Also, from a security perspective it is essential that when businesses choose to subscribe to a cloud-based solution, they are effectively assigning the solution provider with the security of the entire system
As discussed earlier, mPOS is one of the preferred solutions for the SME sector. Many new businesses choose to opt for this as it is cost-effective. There are several software vendors that have a competing range of solutions. However, some features are standard across all software that are available in the market.
To start with many of these software’s are cloud-based solutions. That means mobility and freedom in terms of the number of devices that can be used to access the software. Further, online connectivity is required for the data to sync but many of these software’s also claim to work offline, though, the data will sync when connectivity is available. Many of these software suites have additional features such as inventory management, customer profiling, business reporting, loyalty and gift cards and also customer support.
|ePOS Supplier||ePOS Supplier Overview|
|Caters to Retail and Hospitality sectors. Offers cloud based solutions|
|First to bring touchscreen solutions to POS, Acorn’s ePOS solution is tailored for the Hospitality Industry.|
|iPad centric ePOS solution. Acquired by iZettle in 2016 and rebranded to iZettle PRO.|
|Canada based provider that has epos solutions for retail, ecommerce and restaurants.|
|Hospitality focused ePOS solution provider that offers three months of free trial.|
|London based provider of complete ePOS solutions that offers 15-day trial.|
|Cloud based retail management solution provider that is headquartered in New Zealand.|
When choosing a software, you must keep in mind that these software vendors will actually act as an IT partner. So it is better to understand in detail how well they understand your business and whether they can offer any customisation on the software if the need arises. Further, you can also choose to use a tailored solution from the start but keep in mind that bespoke solutions are going to cost you a lot.
Lastly, it is a good idea to arrange for a demo with a number of software vendors to help you decide which one suits you best. Typically one can expect that user training will be a part of the installation process. If you are already using a different solution and have some customer data, do check how your new vendor plans to migrate data from older systems. Shopify, Vend, Square are some of the notable vendors.
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